Rick LeCompte headshot


My work is about identity, family culture, and relationships. Storytelling is my motivation. Though subject matter demands careful consideration, I create imagery using comic relief. Humor lives within an intentional use of color, form, and repetition. Painted figures lock eyes with onlooking viewers, pulling them into these staged dreamscapes. The audience gains understanding, while reconsidering their own state of affairs.

I continuously work to become more comfortable with my body, my mind, and my sexuality. I practice normalizing my same-sex relationship within myself and my immediate family. As I do so, I must also intertwine these realities on the canvas. My work acts as a journal, giving honest descriptions of the intersections of sexuality and religion, children and parents, siblings and in-laws, and Puerto Rican culture. Stories of self-esteem, body image, family, and love are told within the imagery. I use animals, characters, and symbols to create visual hierarchy. Perspective is given through the eyes of the central figure(s). This directional gaze pulls the viewer into the scene, connecting them emotionally with both character and artist. My partner and our animals dominate the picture plane, not only acting as main characters in the narrative, but also creating dynamic shape and pattern. Color brings light, humor, and emphasis into each dream-like world. 

Before painting I stage photographs then create digital collages (using manipulated photos, drawn elements, and at times elements from different stages of the paintings) to develop composition, color, and light. These collages are edited while painting to further develop content and visual aesthetic. I also sketch, watercolor, write, and collect images before and during painting. Getting into character is an important part of my process- I pose as the main characters and photograph myself in position to further understand form and light. I then paint from life, drawings, collages, and collected images. Having conversation with peers, storytelling, and sitting with the work independently allows me to investigate, revise, and redirect. Content often shifts throughout my paintings as I reflect on current events that bring depth or new meaning into the developing narrative scene. 

Humor and play on varying realities are recurring themes in my development as a painter. Subject matter and characters are used as motifs emblematic of an inner critic, culturally inherent shame, familial judgment, and a longing for mental freedom. Humor is tied into the titles as well as the images. A combination of English, Spanish, and Spanglish slang give the viewer context of location and culture. My intent is for the audience to feel represented, gain understanding, and/or find humor in given (and their own) circumstances.

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Rain of birds and Flowers, 2022

Acrylic on paper
22 x 30 in